The project’s full scope — from traffic to building design — will be vetted as it makes its way through city boards.
Once RCG submits building plans to the city, the project will have to be approved by the Salem Redevelopment Authority, Design Review Board and Planning Board before construction could begin.
Last night, several councilors said the development would revitalize an underutilized city block, bring the city tax revenue (Driscoll estimates $500,000 annually) and enhance and extend Salem’s downtown.
The project will “add something to the downtown that’s just not there right now,” said Councilor Kevin Carr.
“That whole area is like an open wound,” said Buffum Street resident Michael Paul Marsille, “(and) this would knit it back together.”
Councilor Michael Sosnowski echoed Historic Salem’s request for “architectural excellence,” and said he hoped all the building’s residential units would have on-site parking.
“This will be a key driver in revitalizing that area,” said Councilor Josh Turiel, who represents the city ward where the development would be built. “... I think this is going to be a positive for the city.”
Driscoll noted there is a utility line that runs underneath the land that will have to be relocated before it’s developed.
At the July 9 public hearing, RCG Principal Matt Picarsic said the company tentatively plans to file designs with the city in November. If granted approval from the planning and other city boards, RCG hopes to start construction in April and complete work in 2016, he said.
Last night was the City Council’s last meeting of the season; they will meet next in September.